The Maritime Security Act came into force on 1 July 2004. The Act establishes in New Zealand a maritime security framework to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ships or port facilities serving New Zealand's international trade.

Following terrorist attacks in September 2001, the international maritime community, through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), agreed in December 2002 on a new international framework to improve the security of ships and port facilities used in international trade and tourism. This was done through the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS).

View a copy of the Act on the New Zealand Legislation website.(external link)